Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Penang Darul Sampah In the Making

The Batu Maung waste transfer station, which had been operating for the past 10 years, finally closed down on July 6, even when the proposed replacement is not ready. The state government had proposed the Jelutong transfer station to replace Batu Maung but consensus from the residents and a permit from the Department of Environment were needed.

Every day, 300 trucks collect garbage throughout Penang Island. They go to Batu Maung and dump their loads into 15-ton containers, which are then pulled to a dock and loaded onto a large barge. The barge makes three round trips a day to the Pulau Burong landfill in Seberang Perai across the strait to dispose of the 600 tons of garbage generated each day. (source:Garbage in Paradise)

The state government is forced to use lorries to transport the rubbish across the Penang Bridge to Ampang Jajar , which is located 15km from the island.

How can the state government closed down the Batu Maung waste transfer station when there is no suitable replacement ready to take over?

The state government seem to be oblivious to the fact that 750 tonnes of rubbish are produced daily and lorries need to make over 180 trips to transport the rubbish to the Ampang Jajar station before finally shipped to Pulau Burung after compression. How many trips are needed to transport the compressed garbage to Pulau Burung?

What kind of lorry is suppose to be used for transporting the garbage to main land? If a normal lorry is used, will leachate leaking from the garbage pollute the streets and Penang bridge? If the garbage truck is used , this will caused a serious shortage of fleet in servicing garbage collection. From the way the story go, the Jelutong transfer station will not be ready at all. That would mean there is no transfer station available for the garbage trucks to be emptied so that the trash can be collected from other routes, compacted, and loaded into larger trailers for transportation to a landfill.

Each trip will easily take up about 4 hours, this will drastically cut the number of trucks in servicing garbage collection. As day passed by, the shortage of trucks collecting garbage on behalf of the MPPP is expected to worsen, as it will end up struggling to catch up with collections. Are we going to witness the mounds of trash piling up on the city's streets, rotting in the tropical heat amid an acute shortage of garbage trucks?

What are the cost of using lorries to transport the garbage to the main land? The total trips will be more than 200. It would turn out to be a very expensive operation. Image how it going to be an eyesore with an overpowering rancid stench and garbage scattered all over the streets when the trucks ferrying the garbage polluted the street with leachate.

Lim Guan Eng has advanced knowledge about the stoppage of Batu Maung transfer station, but failed to plan anything to mitigate the impending disaster. The proposed Jelutong transfer station is not ready. There is no feasibility study on the proposed Jelutong transfer station. How the state government is going to ensure that with the longer distance between Jelutong transfer station and Pulau Burung, the barges will not end up spillover tons upon tons of garbage onto the surface of the sea?

To divert attention to this problem, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has once again demonstrated his readiness to stoop so low by giving false hope to Penangites on a so called
new underground waste station planned in Jelutong.

New underground waste station planned in Jelutong (The Sun Daily)

GEORGE TOWN (July 5, 2011): Stressed by limited land space, Penang will soon have a waste station with an environmental twist - it will be built underground with a garden for the public on the surface.

The concept is taken from China-based company, CN-NL Waste Solution, which is behind two such garden-concept waste stations in Shanghai's densely populated urban areas.

State Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the plan is pending approval from the Department of Environment (DOE) which has been sent an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report.

The project will use technology supplied by CN-NL which currently operates 45 transfer stations in China, including five in Shanghai.

The high-technology plant is currently planned at the existing Jelutong dumpsite off the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway, which is located near high-rise apartment buildings.

The project would allow residents to benefit from a new green lung while having the waste station moved to a subterranean level.

If approved, it would be targeted for completion by February 2012.

“We may however have to look for an alternative site, depending on the evaluation by the DOE,” Chow said when contacted.

The plant would incorporate an integrated leachate management system, with state-of-the-art odour and dust controls.

It would be undertaken by contractor Eurasia Express Sdn Bhd which has exclusivity to CN-NL technology for transfer stations in Malaysia.

The project was awarded to Eurasia Express Snd Bhd in a hush hush manner, without the residents being given the opportunity to make presentations in opposition as well as in support of Eurasia Express Sdn Bhd operating the Jelutong or Ampang Jajar waste transfer stations. It is nature for the residents to voice their concerns about solid waste transfer stations that are disproportionately concentrated in or near their communities. Eurasia Express Sdn Bhd will upgrade, build and operate the facilities in Jelutong and Ampang Jajar starting from 1/8/2011 for a 9 years concession with the capacity to handle 1200 tons per day.

What happen to the immediate need to transfer the garbage to the landfill? Can we wait until 2012 for the construction of the waste station to be completed? What happened to open tender?

What if the DOE refuse to give approval, are we going to continue using trucks to transfer the waste to a landfill? Lim Guan Eng like his predecessors adopts piecemeal approach toward solid waste management with heavy reliance on landfill. The heavy reliance on landfill for final waste disposal make waste transfer stations inevitable. But the state government has no policy concerning the proper and equitable siting and operation of transfer stations.

The primary reason for using a transfer station is to reduce the cost of transporting waste to disposal facilities. Consolidating smaller loads from collection vehicles into larger transfer
vehicles reduces hauling costs by enabling collection crews to spend less time traveling to and from distant disposal sites and more time collecting waste. This also reduces fuel consumption and collection vehicle maintenance costs, plus produces less overall traffic, air emissions, and road wear.

The first day of operation at Ampang Jajar waste transfer station, following the closure of the island’s Batu Maung transfer station, witnessed a long queue of garbage trucks waiting to unload the garbage. Trucks have to wait for 12 hour to unload the garbage. Traffic flow in the area was reduced to a crawl for several hours. This seriously affected the schedule for garbage collection. Subsequently, some trucks returned back to the island and dumped the garbage at the Jelutong landfil, which are suppose to be closed.

Today we witness how Lim Guan Eng dismantled the only transfer station in the island for development purpose, another brazen instance of the mismanagement of waste transfer by the state government . Lim Guan Eng should be hold responsible for messing up the waste transfer operation in Penang.

The overzealous penchant of Lim Guan Eng toward development is a cause for concern. Lim has allowed PDC to take back the Batu Maung transfer station for development purpose without planning for alternative.
Lim Guan Eng better works all through the day and all through the night to ensure that Penang is not turning into Darul Sampah.
Once again, Lim Guan Eng laid bare for all to see his incompetence and failure as a Chief Minister in governing the state.


  1. Eurasia Express Sdn Bhd is the barge operator at Batu Maung Transfer station which spilled tonnes of domestic garbage into the sea off Pulau Burung with impunity in 2007.

  2. good question to our state government, but for my personal thinking, our state government can't give us a acceptable answer, how come they didn't plan before action? this what they call "GREEN PENANG"?
    confused! now they are making penang more worst...!Don't know when our state government can solve this issue? hopefully is soon as posible...